Monday, March 29, 2010

Co-op: Redux

I haven't asked you in awhile what you'd like to learn more about, fair readers, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to ask you before I get started today. BookScan? Co-op? P&L statements? Just name it in the comments.

Now, I've talked a little bit about co-op in the past, but I haven't really touched on how the process can change in the mystical land of the Interwebs. In a digital environment, you won't have front-of-store promotions, aisle endcaps, or tables of discounted titles; instead, you'll have banner ads, e-couponing (those of you who subscribe to the Barnes & Noble or Borders coupon e-mails will be familiar with these), front-page splashes and placement (for example, if you go to right now, you'll immediately see promotions for Christopher Moore, Michael Lewis, Harlan Coben, and John Grisham), &c, &c.

Since I'm not as involved in the e-aspect of the industry, I'm afraid I can't tell you much about the pricing structure for these kinds of co-op placement (or even whether they can be understood as "co-op" in the traditional sense). What I can tell you, however, is that you want this kind of attention for you and your book, and so it's worth asking your agent to look into it for you. Things I think you may want to ask (and please, any agents who are reading: feel free to jump in via comment!):

· How are we handling e-book rights? If the publisher is acquiring e-book rights as well as print book rights, will the e-book and physical book be available at the same time? Are there any marketing opportunities we can exploit for the e-book, the print book, or both?

· What kind of co-op (if any) do you think might be realistically available? (You'll want to ask this much later down the line, as publishers don't generally start firming up the co-op for a book until about five months before on-sale.) Will there be an opportunity for electronic co-op (e.g. on Amazon) and what will it be?

· What do you think is appropriate in terms of blogging/tweeting/&c? Are there any e-venues where guest-blogging might generate considerable interest? What about social networking sites like Facebook?

· What will the royalty structures look like for the e-book vs. the print book? (This may differ depending on a number of factors, including whether your e-book is available under the agency model or the wholesaler model.) Will my book be available on Amazon? The iBookstore?

And so on and so forth.

Additional comments/questions/vitriol/praise in the comments!


  1. "· What do you think is appropriate in terms of blogging/tweeting/&c? Are there any e-venues where guest-blogging might generate considerable interest? What about social networking sites like Facebook?"

    I would love this question to be answered. I recently started blogging, and I absolutely love it, but I have to wonder: should I only be talking about my writing and my quest for publication? Should I avoid tweeting/blogging about a movie I saw recently that I loved, or a wonderful cooking recipe?

    It's hard to know what/what not to do in terms of talking about yourself, your work, your life, etc. It's hard to know whether to talk about just the writing, or branch out into varied and diverse topics as well.

    So, effectively, I'm asking (very sweetly) if you could possibly answer that question!

  2. Sangu -

    Not to take you away from Eric's site (I'd like to hear his take on this as well), but Chuck Sambuchino's site - Guide to Literary Agents - just published a good article that addresses your questions about blog content and approach.

    I hope you find it useful.

    Eric, I'd also like to hear more about e-venue publicity and marketing. Thanks.

  3. Sangu- While it depends a lot on your goals for the blog, a good yard-stick is "be comfortable". A second one is "be relevant".

    Do you feel comfortable talking about a topic? Then it's an option.

    But then you have to look at who your readers are. This is where the goal of your blog comes in. Do you want to attract other writers? Or your average reader? The second is going to be hard without a book published or in the works, but if you blog about things your hypothetical readers would like, you can do it. Some examples would be reviews of books in your genre, discussions of your opinion on various tropes and conventions in the genre, topics related to the genre such as scientific topics for SFF(or ghost sightings for paranormal/supernatural), etc. If you write cookbooks, then recipes would be appropriate, for example. if you right self-help or inspirational books, then events from your own life are going to be much more relevant than if you write epic fantasy.

  4. Matt Ryan -

    Thank you for the link, it was a great read and very useful!

    atsiko -

    You make it sound so simple, and it should have been obvious to me before! There are some excellent ideas there, and I see what you mean about catering to the genre you write in.

    What's tricky for me is that I'm still actively trying to be published and find an agent, and I'm working on projects in slightly different genres. So, at the moment, I'm essentially blogging about a mixture of writing-related things as well as general things I'm interested in or that catch my eye.

    I guess, in the end, blogging boils down to being creative, interesting and useful. Thanks for the advice!

  5. You got it!

    I write across the SFF spectrum, from UF to Space Opera, so sometimes it can be hard for me to decide whether something is appropriate or not.

    For example, I am a massive anime/manga fan, but I decided it would probably be better to leave that for another blog, unless what I wanted to say was applicable to the written form of story-telling as well.

    On the other hand, I decided that issues in the publishing industry were a reasonable topic, because my blog attracts mostly writers(from whatever genre), and many of them are interested in that sort of thing.

    Good luck on your blog! *clicks link to take a peek*

  6. The e-book question strikes my fancy. I mean, if a publisher only acquires the print book rights, does that mean that your book won't have an e-book?

  7. Hi Kate,

    It would mean that that particular publisher wouldn't be publishing your e-book. However, my understanding is that most (if not all) publishers acquire e-book rights at the same time they acquire print rights.

    Thanks for reading,


  8. E-book rights will almost always be included. It's hardly any risk to the publisher b/c all they have to do is upload a file. Why wouldn't they want to do that?

    As an author I say "great." I'm seeing decent ebook sales on my book. I get paid the same as with print and the ebook is 6 bucks cheaper so people are probably more willing to take the $10 chance on a new author. I like the opportunity the ebook has created for me as an author.

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